Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grocery Wrap-Up : 30 days of Nothing

Yeah! I did not spend any money since my last trip so I came to the end of the month with a few extra dollars.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do next month. Originally I thought I would do a $200 or $300 plan similar to this month. But to be honest, I am sick of the plain boring meals we have had. Sick of making them and sick of eating them. I think I will up it a bit more than that, but still keep a little extra room so I can stock up on things as needed.

It has been fun! I am so glad I participated in the 30 Days of Nothing Challenge.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Non-food Purchases : 30 Days of Nothing

Well, I have really enjoyed the 30 Days Challenge. It has made me so much more aware of what I was spending money on. In order to spend as little as possible this month, my main strategy was to stay out of the stores (and avoid looking at the sale ads.)

I think it went well. I definitely purchased a few things I had not planned on at the start of the month. Most were actually needs like bandaids and medicines needed for sick kids. I did end up breaking down and purchasing paper products - like wax paper and foil - and I had said at the start I would just make do.

As I look over my recorded purchases, I am pleased with how I did even though there are a few things we could probably debate whether they were wants or needs.

Tomorrow will be my last post on this, summing up my food budget.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grocery Trip #6 : 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ..

I made what I hope and plan will be my last grocery store run of the month. I have a menu plan for these last few days and I should have everything covered to last me not just to the end of the month but actually until Friday, which is supposedly my usual store day.

Today I bought whole wheat flour, corn meal, brown sugar, butter, cream and milk. I was going over the list with my husband last night and he said the cream was a necessity. (We want to make apple crisp and homemade ice cream!) Who am I to argue with that? Luckily it did fit into the budget.

That takes me to $194.78. Wow, I even have a few dollars left. I thought it was going to be even closer as they did not have one item on my list today, so it will end up waiting until next month.

Hopefully the next few days will go according to plan!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grocery Trip #5 : 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ...

This actually wasn't a grocery trip. I have a lot of food in our house, thanks to all the apples we picked and my CSA subscription, so I did not really want to go to the store but we were in need of milk. (I figure the less I go, the better for my budget.)

I had to go to the drug store to get a prescription. I figured it would be too much, but I walked by the milk just in case, and it was only 4 cents more than what I normally pay at my grocery store. So I got it. I bought myself a few days.

So yesterday morning I bought 1 gallon of milk for $2.79.

My total so far this month: $178.97. I think I can make it.... We'll see. I will still have to go to the store before the end of the month to get butter and whole wheat pastry flour and sugar.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Grocery Trip #3 and #4 : 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ...

Sorry for the late update. We have been out of town. I packed simple food for most of our meals and we ate few meals out (dining in restaurants does not come out of my grocery budget although I am trying to keep my expenses there down as well)

I went to the store while on vacation to buy milk - Cost: $1.99

I also went to the store this morning (upon our return home) to buy more milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, tortillas and canned tomato sauce - Cost $20.50

My total so far this month: $176.18.

Hmm! That leaves me $23.82 for the rest of the month. I may be able to pull this off yet! I will need to go to the grocery store one more time this month - at the end of this week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grocery Trip #2 : 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ...

Well, I'll get the bad news out of the way.

I spent $65.09 today at the groccery store. (I spent $25 on produce alone.) Not sure I have a good excuse ;-). I just couldn't pick up just one jar of peanut butter, or one can of black beans. It is against my nature! My other problem is we are going to a picnic tomorrow and since I did not plan ahead well and did not have time or energy tonight, I bought some salads at the deli. That is not something I usually do and it did increase my expense.

My total so far this month: $153.69.

Hmm. I don't see how I can possibly pull this off and come in under $200 now. I still have 2 trips left to the store. I guess I blew it. I'd like to see how close I can come though, I may still be able to spend low enough to make up for my previous overage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Unplugged Project - "Soft"

This week's project at UnplugYourkids.com was Soft.

I had trouble working it in, now that school has started back up. I ended up going ahead and doing it only with my youngest, and he had a super time.

First I got out a tongue depressor and some cotton balls and had my 3-year old feel and hold them. Then I checked to make sure he knew "soft" and "hard." After that I gave him some paper and paint and let him use the deprossor and balls as his paintbrushes.

He really enjoyed it and made 3 pictures!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Trader Joes Trip - 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ...

I make 1 trip per month to Trader Joes. I have a set list of things I normally buy there. They are items that are cheaper there than at my regular grocery store. Several of the things I got today were things that last for several months so it feels like I spent a lot, but I still think it is going to work out.

Spent today: $66.25
Grocery total (so far): $88.60

I will still do my regular grocery trip on Friday so I am hoping to spend $25 or less. I think I will still be in good shape. I will have spent more than half my budget but I have had to buy several staples that will last a while plus the items I bought a TJ in a months supply....

Friday, September 05, 2008

Grocery Trip #1 - 30 Days of Nothing

Continuing the 30 Days Challenge ...

Today was my first grocery shopping trip in September. I am so pleased with how it went. I made my menu plan for the next week, focusing on using items I already had. So what we are eating is super basic and simple plus I am thawing some entrees that I froze previously.

So in addition to the frozen meals, and some meat I had in the freezer, I also have a vegetable share at a CSA. That has already been paid for this year, even though I will continue to receive produce through Sept and Oct.

So really, there wasn't much to buy this week. Here's what I got:
popcorn kernels

Total: $22.35

Note - I don't need to buy bread because I make all our bread at home. I have been doing it about a year and I love it. I can't believe I bought bread all those years....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Staying out of the stores : 30 Days of Nothing

I am loving it so far. (I know, I know... it is still the honeymoon phase!) It is really nice to be so mindful of spending money and it feels good when I think through things a bit more than is typical.

I think the key is staying out of the stores AND stop browsing the sale ads! It might be on sale, but it still costs MONEY!

A few things that have come up...
  • I had to pay a bill for something we did last month, that I had sorta forgotten about so it was not on my approved expense list.

  • I have been wanting to get a 3-ring binder for a long time to put my menu planning sheets in but I just haven't got around to it. With this no-spending challenge, I spent 5 minutes and found an unused binder that I could re-purpose for this. Score! I am hoping to find one more lying around to store recipes.

  • I REALLY, REALLY want a reusable water bottle (like Klean Kanteen). REALLY REALLY I DO! I am not going to buy it now, but wait until October. In some ways that seems cheesy, as it is likely I will spend the money anyway, and this just shifts it. But really, I think it is smart to hold off on purchases like that, maybe something else will come up or I will change my mind.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

30 Days of Nothing

I have decided to participate in this 30 days of Nothing month from Owlhaven.

It is open to anyone participating in any fashion which is good because I am actually doing "30 days of Not as much as usual" instead. I looked through my budget sheet for September and made notes of all the "approved expenses" for the month to come. My plan is to not spend anything that was not on that list. So no random clearance items I run across, no clothes, no paper products, no toys or games or art supplies.

I am also limiting my food budget to $200. I am actually not sure how hard/easy that will be. I tend to be a hoarder but I find that in overspending one month to "stock up," I rarely go under in subsequent months for some reason. So my plan is to use up a BUNCH of foods that I already have. The only exception to this will be the trip we always take in September to the orchards to get apples and pears. I don't want to miss out on stocking up on those for the year.

I am actually really excited about it. It felt good to look through the whole budget at the start of the month and think through what our expenses would be more carefully. I feel a bit more in touch with things than usual.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Unplugged Project - Insects

We're a day late due to the holiday but we did do an unplugged project.

I printed out some pictures of animals using Microsoft word clip art - two sets, one for each child. Some were insects, some were not. Some were tricky (spiders), some were not (elephants). We got two pieces of paper for each child, labeled "Insects" and "Not insects" and the kids cut and pasted the animals into the right category.

They liked it a lot and are proud of their "posters" on our wall. It was super simple for me and was a great learning opportunity for both.